The inspiration for this column is to spread happiness, joy and educate on how to have a healthy lifestyle. So, you might be wondering how cyberbullying is part of that? Let me tell you…
First of all, what is cyberbullying? It’s when someone uses a social media platform to say things or hurt others that they would not normally say or do to a person in real life. They “hide behind the screen” as I like to say.
As the world of technology has evolved from landline phones and dial up internet to smart phones, social media and Alexa, there are plenty of opportunities to get caught up in some not so healthy habits of immersing ourselves into the virtual reality abyss of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok just to name a few. On a positive note, these platforms are a great way to celebrate and keep up with people we may not see often, find out more information about things we are interested in, and even find cool things to buy on the Marketplace! However, all too often I have seen positive posts by people sharing things they like, spiral downward by “the comments” from others. I have seen people use these platforms to shame others publicly, get in heated arguments that have turned into name calling and mudslinging aka cyberbullying. YIKES!!! Now whether you have been on the receiving end of what I am talking about or even may be guilty of cyberbullying, being involved in promoting negativity is not good for your health. Engaging in negative behavior has been directly linked to increased stress levels, poor sleep, anxiety and overall health issues.
Below are a few tips I use to stay positive and healthy while browsing through social media:
One of the best strategies I learned from my grandma. She once told me “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all and you don’t hear me saying anything at all.” Oh grandma! If you don’t like something somebody posted, don’t comment on it! It will only breed a negative situation where you go back and forth attacking each other. Not healthy.
If you aren’t up for an argument, be mindful of what you post.
If you have posted something that inadvertently was misconstrued, and are being harassed by others, you can turn off the comments and remove or edit your post. I would recommend not engaging with the “bullies,” they will always win at that level.
If all else fails...take a break from the fake. Human interaction is a way to enhance empathy, understand others on a personal level and bring you back to what is important in your life. Taking some time off from social media is OKAY and a great way to detox and look at the things that are important to you, that make you happy. If you use social media for work, post what you need to for work and then get back to reality.
In conclusion, as you enjoy the wonderful technology we have been given, be aware of how you are representing yourself. If you find you are getting sucked into something that doesn’t bring you joy, leave immediately and redirect. We live in a beautiful place with many things to be thankful for. Take the time to enjoy them, spread positivity and be healthy Florida!
*This article also appeared in the Coastal Breeze on May 31, 2022.